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Singapore's top three banks hired more than 8,000 staff last year

Singapore’s top three banks expanded headcount and paid staff more in 2022 after they each reported record profits.

DBS Group, the biggest bank in Singapore, hired 3,073 people last year, a 9% rise on 2021. The hiring spree pushed staff costs up 13% to S$4.4bn (U$3.3bn) while the bank also paid a one-time special award to all of its staff after net profits jumped by a fifth to a record S$8.2bn.

Oversea Banking Corporation (OCB) and United Overseas Bank (UOB), Singapore’s second and third largest banks respectively, didn’t disclose whether they lavished staff with one-off awards like their bigger rival, but both said they grew headcount and posted record profits.

OCBC added 795 staff last year as headcount grew by 3% to 31,604. OCBC said staff costs rose 7% to S$3.2bn because of ‘annual salary adjustments and increased headcount’. The bank reported record annual and fourth quarter profits as annual net interest income passed S$7bn for the first time.

United Overseas Bank (UOB) hired more people than its two closest rivals combined, recruiting 4,315 staff as staff costs rose 15% to S$3bn over the same period.  Net profits rose 18% to hit a record S$4.8bn.

UOB didn’t break down details of its massive recruitment drive, although it’s likely part of the 18% overall increase in headcount could be explained by the completion in November 2022 by UOB of its acquisition of Citi’s consumer business in Malaysia and Thailand.

DBS has the biggest investment banking business of the Singapore banks, and was the only one to be ranked in the top 10 corporate finance fee rankings for South-East Asia, while it was ranked fifth in the combined Malaysia and Singapore rankings, according to Dealogic. 

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AUTHORDavid Rothnie Insider Comment

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